Taking care of Business

Kompass offers business a management solution built by surveyors

Managing an expanding AEC company requires skill and patience, but growing the company calls for far-sighted strategy.

Better ways to do routine tasks must be implemented, even for tasks like timesheets and human resources. Sometimes when that happens, the efficiencies can be astounding. The savings have been great as a result of a Boston-based geospatial company adopting the Kompass platform; so great that the company has been able to grow substantially.

Kai Duebbert, founder and CEO of Kompass, with clients Paul Feldman (right) and Damien Raffle (left).

In 2021, Boston-headquartered Feldman Geospatial had about 80 employees and too many apps managing various aspects of the business. Invoices, spreadsheets, CRM, and other areas were siloed in different platforms, wasting employee time on tasks and being confusing as well. The platform plethora was impeding the company’s growth, and something had to change.

“It became unmanageable,” said Paul Foley, president of Feldman Geospatial, noting that the company was seeking a business management platform and were referred to Kompass by Murphy Geospatial’s CEO. “We evaluated some off the shelf products, but Kompass was a no-brainer.”

Since adopting Kompass in June 2021, Feldman Geospatial has been empowered, through seamless business management in part, to grow to about 100 employees. It wasn’t a big surprise for Foley. He had an inkling that Kompass would greatly help Feldman Geospatial, because he’d worked previously with Niall Murphy, CEO of Murphy Geospatial.

“Kompass was key to growing our company to one of the leading geospatial companies in Europe,” Murphy says on the Kompass website. “The effective way it organizes sales, operations, HR, and finance functions is ideal for small to medium-size companies like ours, saving time and cost, while being a joy to use.”

Like an increasing number of AEC-focused platforms these days, Kompass software was developed based on the work experience of construction pros. The software was originally developed 11 years ago for Murphy Geospatial to solve its needs and was beta-tested and refined before going to market. When it was ready, Kompass was spun off as a startup from the geospatial firm.

Kai Duebbert, founder and CEO of Kompass, said the platform evolved from work experience. It helps solve common problems surveying companies face every day, problems that Kompass leaders know well from their previous work.

“I’m originally a surveyor myself. This system came out of practice…We created it to address major pain points including scheduling crews, scheduling equipment, and timesheets,” Duebbert said. “It has project management, CRM and financial capabilities. We cover all the major processes.”

For Feldman Geospatial, adopting Kompass wasn’t too tough, but it took some time and help from the platform’s experts. Adoption of the platform meant immediate visibility, connectivity, and timeliness of scheduling, among many other benefits to Feldman Geospatial.

“Our field people can see their schedules two months in advance, with all the info they need on the fly,” Foley said. “It’s really helpful to them to access this [function], and also easy to simply verify their daily timesheet. They know where they will be going to work, what vehicles they’ll need, and more.”

Kai Duebbert with Paul Feldman and Stephen Wilkes of Feldman Geospatial and Raymond Murphy at Geo Week 2023.

Managers for Feldman Geospatial can access all of the information they need for their jobs through the platform, and hence, be able to allocate all assets needed for a project and better plan future projects. That’s part of the intent of the platform.

“Our system is focused on the functionality [of a task], like equipment management, or even scheduling paid time off for an employee. We try to keep it as simple and intuitive as possible. It lets you do your business management work, and then lets you get back to your billable work,” Duebbert said.

With an easy to use, intuitive dashboard, Kompass allows employees of a company to quickly handle proposals and scope management, projects and tasks, equipment scheduling, staff scheduling and timesheets, employee expenses, and invoices and payments. It eases managing employee vacations and allowances, and includes an employee directory. Outfitted with comment functionality, email notifications, integration with your internal file server and Quickbooks online, and more, Kompass simplifies a company’s business management.

The platform is there with a ready and capable hand for its subscribers, who can get help from Kompass experts whenever they need it. Kompass provides free support for its customers, who can buy the software at a monthly rate. It offers all any AEC company requires, Foley said.

“The platform provides everything you need for your company. It’s not just for survey companies either,” Foley said.

The Kompass system launch in his company might have been smoother, but it wasn’t due to Kompass but rather, the large amount of corporate data that Feldman Geospatial had to incorporate into the system, Foley said. The savings have been phenomenal.

“It’s saved us a large amount of time…It’s hours per week per employee. With our company at 105 employees now, that’s a savings of thousands of dollars per month.”

Foley said the company’s managers have been extremely happy with the flexibility of the Kompass platform, and like the ability to immediately see where their crews are working.

His one regret in the Kompass adoption is that he didn’t implement the system sooner, because it would’ve been easier to do so if Feldman Geospatial had done it as a smaller company.

“If I were to do it again, I would do it much sooner,” Foley said. “I would definitely move to Kompass when your company is employing 30 people, because the bigger you are, the bigger the lift [in adopting the platform].”

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